If you are involved in tourism you have probably been using visual content from images through to video content to promote your properties or destinations. But have you considered live streaming?
I have previously written about how the Hilton Hotel used Periscope to share live streams as part of their Washington DC’s 50th anniversary of the hotel. You can read that case study here.
Over the last year since Periscope has been available to us to use (see this article for more on their first birthday celebrations) I have seen a number of organisations use the app to promote their properties and their vacations.
One example I usually share in my Periscope sessions and keynotes on live streaming, Visit Dubai connected with influencers and invited them to spend a week in Dubai and live stream their adventures.
In the past many organisations would have invited journalists to visit their properties, but now organisations are connecting with people who have built an audience in their own right.
For Visit Dubai it seems this is not the first time they have engaged with influencers. Dubai Tourism’s Australian office worked with the Australian blogging community in 2014 to promote the Emirates in a digital campaign that was hoped to reach eight million consumers. The partnership was branded “Australia’s largest international social tourism campaign” had 21 bloggers travel to Dubai and record their experiences in their blogs.
This was part of the digital strategy of Dubai Tourism Australia and New Zealand Office as part of the #MyDubai initiative, created by Dubai crown prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which encourages residents and tourists to share photos, videos and stories on social media about their experiences.
I personally had some concerns about the campaign with Visit Dubai – not only was my Periscope stream flooded with content about Dubai (which resulted in my paying no attention to the live streams) but none of the live streams I watched had disclosure statements about the events being paid and sponsored for by the tourism office – this is against advertising standards guidelines and rules in many countries.
Visit Dubai is not the only organisation who has connected with influencers to help them promote vacations. Royal Caribbean made use of the interactive nature of Periscope for their influencer campaign. The audience could decide what happens next as the influences traveled across five Caribbean islands in 13 broadcasts.
In this campaign the Periscopes were rebroadcast minutes later on 76 digital billboards on station screens and newsstand kiosks across the city, including locations in Union Square and Grand Central Terminal. This is a good example of an integrated campaign across online and offline and is not an approach that is often found for live stream campaigns.
They commented about the choice of influencers:
We chose these guys because they’re exactly the kind of people we want to bring onto Royal Caribbean. They’re adventurers, not tourists. People lounging around isn’t really who’s on Royal Caribbean anymore.
Unfortunately again there did not seem to be any explicit disclosures in the live streams from the influencers which seemed surprising as this is a US based campaign and they would be subject to FTC guidelines.
In today’s world of social media, anyone can be an influencer in the world of tourism. Take for example, the number of people who do live streams around Paris – a community that is growing and who Periscope CEO Kayvon Bekpour recently met up with – some of whom are tour guides and others sharing live streams of the city they live or work in. These new infleucners were not necessarily travel bloggers in the past.
There is a significant opportunity most tourism related businesses are missing by ignoring the use of Periscope and other live stream platforms. While they could be engaging with influencers such as in the case of Visit Dubai and Royal Caribbean, there is an opportunity to position themselves as an authority.
Instead, we see examples such as a teenage live streamer based in Dublin who is positioning himself as “Your Dublin Tour Guide”.
An example that many tourism related businesses could learn from is that of the National Mall National Park Service in the US. Both in 2015 and this Spring they have live streamed the cherry blossom spectacular.
For example, they have recently live streamed a series of Periscopes featuring the Cherry Blossom Festival at the National Mall and Memorial Parks. The live streams feature the voice of a Park Ranger who answers questions from viewers of their live streams.
During the live stream the Park Ranger shares tips of where is the best place to visit the festival, information about the history of the site, alongside details of the different varieties of the cherry blossoms.
Using Periscope in this way is not only providing a public service to those planning to visit the festival, they are also helping promote the city as a place to visit.
And unlike some organisations who are investing significant money in tourism campaigns using social media, often involving multiple agencies, this use of Periscope to promote the festival does not need any external support.
If there were one thing that I would have encouraged the National Mall NPS team to do to enhance the promotion of the campaign, it would be to promote the live streams on their Twitter account.
So what is stopping you from embracing Periscope or other live stream platforms to promote your tourism business or destination?
Or are you going to leave it to social media influencers (who often will have less knowledge about your area of expertise) become the people that lead the promotion of hospitality and tourism through live streaming, just as online review sites have become a key influencer of peoples decisions when choosing where to visit, where to stay and where to eat. The choice is yours, but the window of opportunity is closing with each month you ignore live video and live streaming for your business.
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If you are looking for examples of how organisations have been using Periscope over the last year, including those in regulated industries, then I highly recommend that you subscribe to my podcast Talking Social Business as for the anniversary of Periscope I have a series of four shows that will be published incorporating interviews with eight guests which I hope you will find of assistance. You can subscribe to Talking Social Business to get access to the special episodes as follows:
And if you want to find my Periscope tutorials and resources which at the time of writing this article have had almost 40,000 viewers, go to this page for FREE Periscope training and tips.